The Secret of Apollo

As usual, it is not my intention to spoiler any book, above all because I’m probably not able to do it at all. Anyway, I stumbled on this book. Well, let’s say … parts of the book since I haven’t read it carefully, in an anthology way. Ok, ok, skipping the part of my useless digressions, let’s come back to the book of “Systems Management in American and European Space Programs”.

The management-by-objectives strategy worked reasonably well for managers overseeing individual knowledge workers, but it did little to coordinate the efforts of scientists and engineers on large projects, on which experts organized (or disagreed) along disciplinary lines and could form only form temporary committees for the exchange of information. […] Scientists and engineers found that they needed some individuals to coordinate the information flowing among working groups.

These sentences ratify the born of the figure of “system engineer” to coordinate the design and the changes of a program.

This study examines how scientists and engineers created a process to coordinate large scale technology development and how managers and military officers modified and gained control of it.

And from system engineers to system management; where,


System management as the core of the whole production process, to coordinate aerospace (in the begin) R&D institutions. This leads to the concept of technical coordination managers (to control the resources required to produce a new system), but also to the the concept, still idealistic today for the largest part of situations, of “flexible organization”, the leaning organization.

For organizations to learn, to adapt, and to sustain adaptions, they must have processes that are both flexible and durable.

IMHO wording like cross.cultural and cross-organizational are now just buzz words, they lost their true meaning without never acquiring it. Anyway the book gives also a different vision of the impasse of the worldwide aerospace industry.


The concept of bureaucracy for innovation, born for sure with the most noble origins, is, probably, one (the major?) of the causes of the ruin of aerospace (only?) industry.




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